News Specialist John Hollenhorst reporting This remains a bit of a mystery. City utility officials say they can't confirm a water pressure problem existed. And they can't find any reason for it if it did happen.
They do admit that three hydrants and one valve were out of service when firefighters arrived.
That's because of a big street rebuilding project that's been underway on South Temple. It includes a complete replacement of the water mains.
The part near the fire was completed some months ago. New water mains were already in place. But the fire department reported problems anyway.
Dennis McKone of the Salt Lake City fire department says, "This went to a fifth alarm because of the construction we've got here on South Temple. We did have a water problem with some of the plugs being dry. Low water pressure due to the construction."
But utility officials say the new water mains should have been working fine. And they're much bigger than the old ones.
"So the mains are there now that were there today during this fire, are capable of flowing much higher flows than the system that was in place a year ago," says LeRoy Hooton of Salt Lake City public utilities.
Water officials did huddle on the problem for much of the day today. And they plan to meet tomorrow with fire officials. If there was a problem, they say, they want to get to the bottom of it.